AS house prices soar in Northern Ireland, first time buyers are being priced out of the market. The LibDems suggested some ideas the other day to deal with this growing problem. A rise in the stamp duty threshold and restrictions on the sale of properties to those from outside the area has been mooted in the Yorkshire Dales.James Stinson reported today in the Irish News:
Northern Ireland is turning into a region of haves and have-nots â€“ those that have a house and those that canâ€™t afford one.
It has always been the case that those in work, and those who work in the public sector especially, are more likely to own their own house while those on benefits or low incomes donâ€™t.
However, this divide has widened significantly in the last five years.
As the relatively well off have become more affluent they have helped drive up average house prices, leaving fewer people at the lower end of the wages ladder able to buy their own home.
According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders first-time buyers now make up 30 per cent of the total house sales market â€“ down from 60 per cent just three years ago.
Bank of Ireland economist Alan Bridle said affordability remains a key issue in the house price debate in the north.
â€œThe first time buyer issue cannot be divorced from North- ern Irelandâ€™s socio-economic structure of relatively low wages in the private sector, a deficit in high income graduate positions and higher than average dependency on benefits,â€ he said.